In our last Gear Spotlight, we took a detailed look inside our new Players 4 Plus Stand Bag. We'd like to say thank you to members like Dale V who have put the new Players Collection stand bags in play and who have shared their feedback with us. These insights are invaluable and play a large role in helping us create products worthy of the Titleist script.
During development of the new Players Collection, the Titleist Gear team also took on the task of creating an entirely new class of golf bags. As their name implies, the new Hybrid 14 and Hybrid 5 bags bridge the gap between traditional stand bags and cart bags, employing hybrid designs that perform equally well whether you're carrying for 18 or taking a golf cart.
If you're the type of player who likes to both walk and ride, this just may be the golf bag you've been waiting for!
To learn more about the new Hybrid line, we visited again with Sean Slater, Golf Gear Product Manager for Titleist, who gave us all the inside scoop on the new Hybrid 14 and Hybrid 5. (Check out the video above for an overview of the Hybrid 14 features and benefits.)
• • •
TEAM TITLEIST: How did you come up with the idea for a line of hybrid golf bags?
SEAN SLATER: The idea behind our new Hybrid line came from our team that was studying how players interact with their golf bags. We set out on a series of market visits to determine how different types of dedicated golfers use their bags.
Some of the correlations we investigated were size of bags, number of dividers and if players were walking, riding or using a push/pull cart. What we found was that the majority of larger stand bags with 5 or more dividers were being put on a cart of some sort when it came time to head to the first tee.
Even though these players were primarily using a cart during play, they still preferred a stand bag, which sparked the idea for a Hybrid series.
TT: How much did you rely on research with Team Titleist members and other dedicated golfers during the development of the Hybrid 5 and Hybrid 14?
SS: Team Titleist is always a go-to resource for us when we are working on new products. We learn a lot very quickly through quick polls and forum interaction. We also use Team Titleist members to help review concepts and test prototypes to help validate our direction. We take TT feedback very seriously and much of what we put into the design and development process revolves around implementing their thoughts and comments.
New Hybrid 14
TT: From a design standpoint, how do stand bags and cart bags typically differ?
SS: Typically, cart bags have a much larger footprint. They include a lot of storage and organization. In many cases, they double as a mobile locker for players that like to have anything they could ever want/need with them on the golf course. Cart bags also usually have a single strap since they aren’t carried far and include cart-friendly features such as a strap tunnel to make them easy to secure to a cart.
Stand bags tend to be designed with more of a minimalist approach. They have adequate space for anything anyone would need for 18 holes, but are typically re-packed to some degree for the round ahead. For example, a player may take out his or her rain gloves if rain is not in the forecast but may include a pull-over if he/she thinks it may get a little chilly towards the end of their twilight round. The general DNA consists of lightweight elements and a double strap system for comfort.
The new Hybrid collection is the best of both worlds. The bags are slightly larger than a typical stand bag. They offer additional storage and more top-cuff dividers, but still include a double strap and stand system to be carried. They also include some cart-friendly features like cart strap loops.
TT: What type of player will benefit from using a Hybrid 5 or Hybrid 14 golf bag?
SS: One of the most exciting things about developing the Hybrid line was finding out just how many players will benefit from a hybrid bag. The obvious player that will benefit is someone who plays a good mix of carrying and cart rounds. We also found a large segment of dedicated golfers who almost always use a cart, but prefer a bag with a stand system for the range, the practice green or even just for added stability when storing their clubs.
New Hybrid 5
TT: Other than the obvious different 5 and 14-way divider configurations, what are some other differences between the two new hybrid models?
SS: Both bags were designed as a collection so there are a lot of similarities between the two. Visually, both look similar with large angled apparel pockets, low-profile top cuffs and come with our convertible strap system.
The Hybrid 5 is the slightly smaller of the two models and features one full, and one half-length apparel pocket. It also has a dedicated cart strap loop to allow players to secure the bag to the cart without having to run the strap through the handle.
The Hybrid 14 includes two full-length apparel pockets and has a strap tunnel that allows players to run the cart strap underneath the apparel pockets. It also features Tour-inspired integrated handles in the top cuff for easy loading and un-loading on a cart.
TT: Tell us a little bit about the low profile top cuff design. Where did this idea come from and what is the player benefit?
SS: The low-profile top cuff is a Tour-inspired feature that we’ve implemented into all of our Players and Hybrid bags for 2019. As more players are putting shorter putters into play, we got feedback that a lower profile top cuff could help keep putter covers on when they are in the top divider with metals. Not surprisingly, feedback from Team Titleist aligned with that of the Tour players so it was a natural fit to bring this feature into stand bags.
TT: We assume that Hybrid bags are slightly heavier than Players Collection stand bags? What did you have to do so that these bags are still easy to carry for 18 holes?
SS: Because of the increased size and divider counts, the Hybrid bags aren’t as light as our Players series, but they are still light enough to be carried. We started with what we knew about lightweight durability from the Players series and thoughtfully engineered additional features to create the Hybrid line. With the added storage and cart-friendly features, the Hybrid 5 weighs in at just 4.8 lbs and the Hybrid 14 at 5.6 lbs.
TT: Do bags need to be more durable when they’re used for both carrying and riding in a cart? Did you have to explore different fabrics, materials?
SS: Just because a bag is designed to be carried, that doesn't mean it is never going to end up on a cart. We pride ourselves on holding our bags to very high quality standards regardless of intended use. This ensures that all of our bags perform at the highest level no matter how they are being played.
• • •
And if you've had a chance to try a new Hybrid 14 or Hybrid 5 golf bag, please share your experiences in the comments section below. We're always grateful for your feedback!